Support bubbles, including families with a child under one, remain in place in Tier 4
Support bubbles including those for single parents and families with very young children, remain in place in Kent despite tough Tier 4 restrictions.
From December 3 those with a baby under one were able to form an exclusive bubble with another household regardless of how many adults were in either home.
In England, adults living alone or single parents with children under 18 have been allowed to form an exclusive bond with another household since the end of the first lockdown. That second household has been able to be of any size, include more than one adult and could also include 'at risk' people who had been shielding.
Eligibility was then expanded at the end of November's lockdown to also include families who have a baby under one, households with a child under five who has a disability and requires continuous care and a single adult carer living with additional adults in a household who need continuous care.
The bubbles formed, must be exclusive, but enable pairs of households to enter each others homes in tiers where that is otherwise prevented and no social distancing will be required. But in the same way that other support bubbles currently run - the entire two household bubble would need to isolate in the event of a suspected or positive case of coronavirus.
Under Tier 4 rules social mixing has been limited to one person meeting one other person in an outdoor space. But government rules say that even in Tier 4, all support bubbles for those at risk of loneliness, can remain in place.
This is despite the move by Downing Street to ban the forming of Christmas bubbles in Tier 4 postcodes, which would have allowed families to meet up over the festive season.
Alongside support bubble arrangements, childcare bubbles where one household provides informal, unpaid childcare to another, will also remain in place in Tier 4 but this again must always be between the same two households.
These however, ministers point out, must not be used for socialising but only for the benefit of having children looked after should parents for example, be required to go out to work.
To learn more about the new coronavirus restrictions and the new eligibility criteria for support bubbles please click here.